A secondary school has announced it will close for two weeks due to more Covid-19 cases.
In the last ten days Strood Academy has recorded 14 positive coronavirus tests – the majority of which it says appear to be related to transmission outside the school gates.
It means from today all pupils at the school in Carnation Road have been asked to learn from home for the next two weeks as part of a “circuit break” measure.
Operationally the school said it had been facing a “challenging period” with several staff self-isolating at the same time.
Last week the academy sent 118 pupils and seven staff members home to isolate after a teacher and pupil in year 11 test positive for Covid-19 – before sending more year groups homes in the last few days.
Following a rise in cases the school says it is now seeking to initiate its own “circuit break”.
A spokesperson for the Leigh Academies Trust, said: “Following consultation today with Public Health England, the Local Authority and the Trust and due to the number of cases across all year groups and also some staff, we have now reached a point where a ‘circuit break’ measure is the only sensible option to safeguard students, staff and the wider community.
“Therefore regrettably, we have made the very difficult decision to close the academy to all students and staff from November 18.
“Our hope is that by closing the school for a two week period, it will significantly reduce the transmission rate and, importantly, will allow staffing levels to return close to full capacity.
“We have asked students and staff to return on Wednesday December 2 and this is the date that we will work to for a full re-opening of the academy.”
It added: “We would like to thank parents and carers for their messages of support over the past few weeks, this has been a very challenging time and your patience and understanding is much appreciated.”
During this closure, the school says it will be undertaking a full deep clean of the entire site to ensure that the building is safe for staff and students to return to.
The trust said it acknowledges the government’s determination to keep the schools open at all costs is because of the lost education in the summer.
‘We have now reached a point where a ‘circuit break’ measure is the only sensible option to safeguard students, staff and the wider community…’
It says it will therefore be offering a full suite of learning over google classrooms – both live lessons, recorded lessons and assignments.
For students without technological resources, it will be ensuring that their studies can also continue via printed resources wherever possible.
The school is also aiming to provide limited provision for key workers and vulnerable students from Monday November 23 in an area of the school already deep cleaned.
Yesterday, Kent County Council’s education chief told headteachers to make sure they understand coronavirus guidelines before sending pupils and staff home.
It came on the day nine schools in the county announced they were closing after a rising number of coronavirus cases, including in Sittingbourne, the Isle of Sheppey, Canterbury, Dartford and Medway.
— to www.kentonline.co.uk